Archive for March, 2012

2012 Tuesday: About that notion the economy, GOP ‘war on women’ have Obama cruising to re-election

A GOP “war on women” concerning contraception. A bloody Republican primary that keeps dragging on. Improving jobs numbers. A sharp drop in President Obama’s approval ratings.

Wait, what?

The narrative of February and early March was that Obama baited Republicans into focusing on social wedge issues, even as the economy is foremost on voters’ minds, and then seized on good economic news to begin gaining ground on that top concern as well. The president had returned to the magic 50 percent mark in approval ratings in both the New York Times/CBS national poll and the Washington Post/ABC survey. It seemed that it didn’t matter who the Republicans nominated: His name would simply go down in history as another guy who lost to Obama.

Now, both polls show a significant reversal. The WaPo/ABC poll, released yesterday shows Obama falling from 50 percent approval/46 percent disapproval to the exact opposite: 46/50. Today, the NYT/CBS poll shows an even larger fall: from 50/43 to 41/47. …

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Could a French Socialist throw an economic wrench into Obama’s re-election?

Of all the external factors that might affect the presidential race, I doubt many people saw President Obama being hurt by an honest-to-goodness European Socialist. But the intention of Francois Hollande, the French Socialist challenger to President Nicolas Sarkozy, to renegotiate the painstakingly struck European bailout could send shivers through economies over there and here.

From an interview Hollande gave German news site Der Spiegel:

I want to renegotiate it. Not all of it — some things seem reasonable to me. I’ve already committed myself to a balanced budget and better economic governance. But what bothers me most is that there is nothing about growth in the fiscal pact. And then there is some uncertainty with regard to the automatic sanctions — that is, what is expected of countries to reduce their deficits.

Hollande is right in a very narrow sense, that growth is key to balancing budgets in Europe (and here as well). But his proposal to attain that growth by issuing …

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Genuine challenge for elite pols: Keep us from ‘coming apart’

It appears that, come November, Americans will elect as president either a wealthy member of a narrow elite or … another wealthy member of that narrow elite.

Of course, I mean the prospect of Barack “Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and seen what they charge for arugula?” Obama facing Mitt “[My wife] drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually” Romney, in a contest to seem more in tune with Americans who gravitate toward iceberg lettuce and Fords.

This would be true even if Charles Murray hadn’t just published “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010.” And while Murray does not discuss presidential politics in his treatise on the growing gap between the New Upper Class and the New Lower Class, his book’s arrival is timely — and ought to inform the 2012 debate.

“Coming Apart” has been one of the most talked-about books in the commentariat in the past couple of months. But in case you have not come across any reviews of it yet: Murray focuses on “white America” to …

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‘The only negativity about Barack Obama is . . .” (video)

Good grief:

Look, I understand there are millions of Americans who believe Barack Obama has been a good president. (That is, I understand this is a fact; I cannot say I understand their perspective.) But, as Piers Morgan summarizes Davis Guggenheim’s position, to the filmmaker’s approval,  “the only negativity about Barack Obama is there are too many positives”? Seriously?

It’s almost enough to ruin “Waiting for Superman” for me. At least, I guess, it reveals how uber-liberal the opponents of school choice must be, if even a guy like Guggenheim supports it.

Oh, and lest I bury the local lede: I guess we now know who’s been writing on this blog under the alias “Bart Abel.”

I kid, I kid!

(H/t: Ed Morrisey at Hot Air)

– By Kyle Wingfield

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Poll Position: What do other tax approvals tell us about T-SPLOST?

For Atlanta residents, this week brought another trip to the ballot box — and another sales tax approved.

This time, it was the re-authorization of a 1 percent sales tax to fund more repairs to the city’s water and sewer infrastructure. It passed overwhelmingly. Just four months ago, voters in six metro counties chose to extend 1 percent SPLOSTs (special-purpose local-option sales taxes) for school construction. Just over a year ago, Cobb residents voted to keep their own SPLOST.

Regardless of how I personally plan to vote, I think the approval of other sales taxes:

  • Have no bearing (39 Votes)
  • Mean the T-SPLOST is more likely to pass in metro Atlanta (38 Votes)
  • Mean the T-SPLOST is less likely to pass in metro Atlanta (10 Votes)

Total Voters: 87

Loading ... Loading …

All this self-taxation has observers, including yours truly, wondering what the impact will be for the T-SPLOST referendum to be held in July.

On one hand, folks don’t seem hesitant to pass these sales taxes. …

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Robertson’s remarks highlight cultural shift on pot legalization

Mark this day as a big step toward a major cultural shift. From the Associated Press:

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson says marijuana should be legalized and treated like alcohol because the government’s war on drugs has failed.

The outspoken evangelical Christian and host of “The 700 Club” on the Virginia Beach-based Christian Broadcasting Network he founded said the war on drugs is costing taxpayers billions of dollars. He said people should not be sent to prison for marijuana possession. …

“I just think it’s shocking how many of these young people wind up in prison and they get turned into hardcore criminals because they had a possession of a very small amount of a controlled substance,” Robertson said on his show March 1. “The whole thing is crazy. We’ve said, ‘Well, we’re conservatives, we’re tough on crime.’ That’s baloney.” …

“I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol,” Robertson told the newspaper. “If people can go into a liquor …

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Think Washington subsidizes Big Oil the most? Think again

Not that this will stop the Obama administration from decrying giveaways to Big Oil — facts have never much bothered this bunch before — but a new government report shows there’s big money to be had in energy subsidies, mostly for fuels other than oil and coal.

The Congressional Budget Office compiled federal tax-credit and spending data since the Carter era and found that, lately, the vast majority of the corporate welfare is going not to fossil fuels but to renewable energy:

CBO energy subsidies chart

In case this picture isn’t worth a thousand words to you, CBO summarizes the trend neatly:

Measured in 2011 dollars, the cost of energy-related tax preferences more than doubled between 1977 and 1982 and then fell dramatically between 1982 and 1988, in part because of declines in tax rates and fuel prices… . The cost of energy-related tax preferences grew gradually between 1988 and 2005 and averaged about $4 billion a year from 2000 to 2005. That cost (including outlays for grants in lieu of tax …

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The speech Mitt Romney needs to give — soon

JFK gave a speech about separation of church and state to allay fears the Vatican would control a Catholic president. Barack Obama gave a speech about race to address radical comments by his longtime pastor and adviser, Jeremiah Wright.

Perhaps the time has come for Mitt Romney, dogged by a louder-than-a-whisper about his core beliefs, to give a speech — not about Mormon, but about mammon.

Oh, there will be innuendo and more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, to which Romney belongs, should he continue on his current trajectory toward the GOP presidential nomination. It will be an outrageously ironic tactic, coming from supporters of a president smeared as a Kenyan Muslim who should have been disqualified from the presidency. But it will come.

The central Democratic attack against Romney, however, will concern his wealth and experience at the private equity firm Bain Capital. Obama and the left have been laying this groundwork for a class-warfare assault on …

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What does Mitt Romney’s ‘momentum’ look like?

Super Tuesday was, as I wrote late last night, a good day for Mitt Romney. Yes, his win in Ohio was narrow given his spending edge over Rick Santorum there; yes, his win in Virginia owed in large part to other candidates’ failure to make the ballot; yes, Massachusetts and Vermont are blue states he wouldn’t carry in a general election. But in a tight race, each victory counts and each delegate in the fold is another step closer to the nomination. Winning Ohio and Virginia is better than not winning them, and Romney won them. It was a good day for him.

That said, Romney didn’t do well enough Tuesday to shake the notion that he’s a weak front-runner. Here’s what I mean:

At this point, 22 states have held their primaries or caucuses. By this time next week, we’ll be past the halfway point. As the front-runner with apparent momentum, Romney ought to be pulling away from the pack. As the candidate touted as having the best chance to beat Barack Obama in the general election, he …

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Super Tuesday live blog

UPDATE at 11:42 p.m.:

It appears the night belongs either to Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum, pending the final outcome in Ohio. At this writing, with 91 percent of the precincts in that state reporting, Romney has finally pulled ahead of Santorum by half a percentage point. The late-reporting counties have been urban ones, and Romney is performing well in them. If he does indeed add Ohio to a list that includes Massachusetts, Vermont and Virginia (and, based on very early returns, probably Idaho and Wyoming), while finishing second in Georgia, Oklahoma and Tennessee, this will have been a big night toward turning the off-and-on front-runner into a highly likely nominee.

Even if he loses Ohio, Santorum did well enough by winning primaries in Oklahoma and Tennessee and the North Dakota caucuses. Despite his victory in Georgia, Gingrich had the roughest night. He will get the lion’s share of the delegates in Georgia, the most delegate-rich state on Super Tuesday, but the rest of …

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